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Cracking an ice cold case: Nearly 3.2 million years ago, Lucy died. Now we know how.

Lucy died 3.2m years agoTalk about cracking a cold case: Nearly 3.2 million years ago, Lucy died. Now we may know how.

Lucy, the iconic human cousin whose skeleton was discovered in Ethiopia in 1974, died shortly after she fell out of a tree, according to a new study published Monday in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature.

More than four decades after her discovery, Lucy remains one of oldest, best and most complete skeletons of any adult, erect-walking hominid, according to John Kappelman, an anthropologist at the University of Texas and the lead author of the study. A hominid is a member of the evolutionary family that includes great apes – such as gorillas, chimps, and orangutans, humans, and their ancestors, some of which are extinct.

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Discovery of potentially Earth-like planet Proxima b raises hopes for life

Proxima BThe search for life outside our solar system has been brought to our cosmic doorstep with the discovery of an apparently rocky planet orbiting the nearest star to our sun.

Thought to be at least 1.3 times the mass of the Earth, the planet lies within the so-called “habitable zone” of the star Proxima Centauri, meaning that liquid water could potentially exist on the newly discovered world.

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Researchers confirm astronomical nature of ancient Scottish stones

Stonehenge For the first time, researchers have confirmed the astronomical accuracy of Britain's earliest stone structures. According to scientists at the University of Adelaide, the great circles traced the paths of the moon and sun at the time of their construction, 5,000 years ago.

"Nobody before this has ever statistically determined that a single stone circle was constructed with astronomical phenomena in mind -- it was all supposition," Gail Higginbottom, visiting research fellow at Adelaide and leader of the recent research effort, said in a news release.

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Super telescope finds hundreds of previously undetectable galaxies

Galaxies discoveredA South African radio telescope has revealed hundreds of galaxies in a tiny corner of the universe where only 70 had been seen before.
The images, taken by MeerKAT telescope, are an indication of the detail the southern hemisphere's most powerful radio telescope may be able to provide when it is fully operational later this year.

At present, 16 of MeerKAT's 64 dishes are scanning the skies. As well as its scientific goals, the project serves as a technological demonstration of South Africa's capability to host the Square Kilometer Array, a huge multiradio-telescope project to be built in Australia and South Africa comprising dozens of dishes.

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16-million-year-old planet with three suns discovered

16 million year old planetThe far-off planet, located about 320 light years from Earth in the constellation Centaurus, is unlike any other known world, scientists say.

Anyone on the planet — if it harbored life, which scientists don't think is possible — would either experience constant daylight or enjoy triple sunrises and sunsets each day, depending on the season, which last longer than human lifetimes.

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Large Hadron Collider finds three new particles, confirms fourth

Hadron Collider finds three new particlesEurope's largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, is back in action. According to two newly published studies, its latest round of experiments yielded three new "exotic" particles and confirmed the existence of a fourth.

The newly identified particles are considered "exotic" because they contain four quarks, the building blocks of all matter. Particle physicists used to believe all particles were composed of mesons, a quark-antiquark pair, or baryons, three quarks -- but no more than three quarks. A litany of discoveries have shown otherwise.

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Juno probe enters into orbit around Jupiter

Juno probeThe US space agency has successfully put a new probe in orbit around Jupiter.

The Juno satellite, which left Earth five years ago, had to fire a rocket engine to slow its approach to the planet and get caught by its gravity.  A sequence of tones transmitted from the spacecraft confirmed the braking manoeuvre had gone as planned.

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